Mar 5, 2021

On Finishing a Year of Torah

In the midst of these strange times, a growing community of friends have joined together every weekday morning at 9am on the UJA-Federation of New York Facebook page to learn Torah, to keep each other company, to strengthen each other. I know this has been a positive thing for others, but it has been a vital thing for me, not only as a teacher, but as a Jew. This came up just a few days ago in conversation with my mentor, Rabbi Craig Scheff of the Orangetown Jewish Center (OJC). I was his first rabbinic intern. It has come up in conversation with my father, Rabbi Gary Creditor, who has always been my rabbi. I have become increasingly aware of what a privilege it is to be a rabbi, to be part of the lineage of Torah teachers that stretches back in time for thousands of years and will, please God, continue forever. I will be forever grateful for the blessing of being part of a Torah community, and this morning felt like no other. Monday morning we will celebrate a siyyum, a completion of a cycle of learning, and we will launch immediately into the cycle to come. Torah is always moving forward, and we with Torah. "All her ways are pleasant, and all her paths are peace. (Prov. 3:17)"

*SPECIAL MOMENT* Today marked the end of an entire Torah cycle of 9am broadcasts on the UJA-Federation of New York Facebook page. There we've gathered with thousands of good, kind souls, every morning since March 18, 2020 to learn Torah, to strengthen each other, to engage in our world, and to build community. Monday morning at 9am, we will celebrate a #siyyum of the entire Torah, beginning again where the strange and winding sacred path launched one year ago. May we be blessed to experience love for each other and our world through Torah morning and night. #MorningTorah #ShabbatShalom

 *SPECIAL MOMENT* Today marked the end of an entire Torah cycle of 9am broadcasts on the UJA-Federation of New York Facebook page. There we've gathered with thousands of good, kind souls, every morning since March 18, 2020 to learn Torah, to strengthen each other, to engage in our world, and to build community. Monday morning at 9am, we will celebrate a #siyyum of the entire Torah, beginning again where the strange and winding sacred path launched one year ago. May we be blessed to experience love for each other and our world through Torah morning and night. #MorningTorah #ShabbatShalom 

Feb 24, 2021

What Is Purim?

Wow. Recorded this #Purim video with #InsideEdition last year. Feels like a million years ago. But made me smile - may Purim look like that again sometime soon! #PurimSameach #MarbimBeSimcha 

Being fabulous, Being of service. #Tetzaveh #MorningTorah

 

Feb 23, 2021

The #SNL thing is exhausting. But it's also symbolic and real

"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality." -Edgar Allan Poe

The #SNL thing is exhausting. But it's also symbolic and real. And there's a significant difference between the way it plays out in Israel (the ostensible target of the joke) and the way it plays out in America, where 'Jewish,' the punchline to the #antisemitic 'joke,' is a physically vulnerable minority.

While I don't often quote the Jerusalem Post, their editorial (which called the outcry over Michael Che's joke 'unreasonable') articulated why in an America that still boasts Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and tiki-torch-wielding White Nationalists, a fierce Jewish response is necessary:

"It’s one thing for us to make fun of ourselves to each other here, and quite another for someone else to make fun of us to others over there. That type of joke in Israel will not spur someone with antisemitic tendencies to go dab a swastika on the wall of a synagogue, or worse. In America it may."

_______________

art: "Words in the Wind," Ruben Monzon

In the spirit of Queen Esther, let’s make this a better world by turning things (and ourselves) over and over again, until we get it right! #RealPurimTorah

 

Feb 19, 2021

What is the answer to the question of lighting candles where and when you are as you celebrate Shabbat together through digital communal convenings in different time zones (ie, new York and Jerusalem)?

#Question: What is the answer to the question of lighting candles where and when you are as you celebrate Shabbat together through digital communal convenings in different time zones (ie, new York and Jerusalem)?

#Answer: As one might imagine, different rabbis have different answers to this truly modern question. I say this: Lighting at 10am in New York as part of a Jerusalem community is holy but not halachically applicable (meaning that Shabbat does not begin in New York despite being spiritually connected to Jerusalem through a holy beyond-space simultaneous convening).

In the realm of the holy, space and time do not exist. But in the realms of time and space, holiness is like an electric current - we tap in to its theoretically boundless power but are not dissolved into energy ourselves. Shabbat begins at different moments based on location, the boundaries of time and space still apply to our lives, though the spiritual beauty knows no limits.

A Shabbos gift from Neshama and me!

 (Mi Anochi cowritten by Ariel Creditor and Rabbi Menachem Creditor)

So emotional. "Make me a holy space, and I will dwell within you." The Torah could never have predicted a sacred digital community, but for the past 237 weekday mornings, weekday mornings with UJA-Federation's 9am Torah community has been nothing short of godly. #MorningTorah #BuildOnLove

 

Feb 9, 2021

with a snap | a #WandaVision poem.


with a snap
(c) menachem creditor

If only we could control what comes next
bring them back
bring them all back
the snap it would be

no loss, no loss, no loss

but we can't
that's not how it works
it's not a snap

some gems are lost
even precious visions end
and we can't just can't
bring them back
with a snap

but we dare not lose
everything: ourselves, the world
as we grieve what we cannot control


___
a #WandaVision poem.

How does this week's Torah portion model a modern response to injustice? #justice #justicejustice #BuildOnLove

 

Feb 1, 2021

The myth that Jews do not abuse their spouses must be shattered!

In memory of Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, let us spend time this week discussing/sharing what he labeled "The Shame Borne in Silence: Spouse Abuse in the Jewish Community." In his 1996 groundbreaking book on Jewish Domestic Violence, he wrote:

"The myth that Jews do not abuse their spouses must be shattered! Now for the first time, a direct address to the problem of spouse abuse in the Jewish community! We can no longer permit ourselves to deny the existence of this terrible crime. The time has come to confront the truth and to take definitive steps to end this violation of all that Judaism stands for."

Here are some links for further exploration:

The Shame Borne in Silence: Spouse Abuse in the Jewish -Community - "Throughout the book, the author engages the reader with vignettes, using dialogue to illustrate how the abusive spouse establishes control and power while the victim doubts herself and accepts blame for her behavior. This stylistic technique allows readers to recognize the control tactics and to feel the hurt, bewilderment and resignation of the victim." - https://www.amazon.com/Shame-Borne-Silence.../dp/0964850818

Trager Lemp Center: Treating Trauma & Promoting Resilience - part of Westchester Jewish Community Services - "The Trager Lemp Center’s comprehensive outpatient programs are geared towards helping survivors of trauma and abuse and their families. The center provides targeted services for adult and child survivors of incest and child sex abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. We also provide comprehensive treatment for families of children with problematic sexual behavior." - http://www.wjcs.com/trauma/

New York Legal Assistance Group - NYLAG - Founded in 1990, NYLAG is a leading civil legal services organization combatting economic, racial, and social justice by advocating for people experiencing poverty or in crisis. "The effects of intimate partner violence are long-lasting, affecting many aspects of a survivor’s life. This includes their physical safety, economic stability, housing, and health. Intimate partner violence can also have profound effects on children, who have often witnessed the violence. Access to trauma-informed, client-centered representation is crucial for our clients’ paths towards self-determination, safety, and security." - https://www.nylag.org/intimate-partner-violence/

What a gift it is to stand with leaders from other faiths, to listen to and gain from the learned wisdom of others, to do the hard work of communal introspection and healing! #Yitro #AbrahamTwerski #SistersAndBrothers #Faith

 

Jan 27, 2021

Upcoming Events!

Upcoming Events!

#MorningTorah
every weekday morning at 9am (Eastern) with UJA-Federation of New York: https://www.facebook.com/ujafedny

#KaddishMinyan every Wednesday at 4pm (Eastern) with MyJewishLearning.com: https://zoom.us/j/317119653

#ShabbatShirah (Jan 30) davening with Congregation Beth El in West Orange, NJ: https://bethelnj.org/

Book Talk on #RememberAndDoNotForget Thurs, Feb 4th at 1pm (Eastern) with the Zioness Movement: https://zioness.org/events

"Essential Ingredients for a Healing World" - Scholar in Residence Shabbat Feb 5-7, featuring a Saturday night concert with Neshama Carlebach - with Westchester Jewish Center: wjcenter.org/scholar

"Covid, Ethics and the State of Judaism in American" Wednesday, Feb 10 at 7pm (Eastern) with Temple Beth Sholom, Cherry Hill: https://www.tbsonline.org/event/zoom-covid-ethics-and-the-state-of-judaism-in-america.html

And find out more at: http://rabbicreditor.blogspot.com


Today is #InternationalHolocaustRemembranceDay, the day in 1945 the Allies liberated Auschwitz/Bikenau. And friends, to truly #Remember & #NeverForget, we must face the trauma of our past and identify the violent echoes of the Nazis wherever and whenever it rises again. May the memory of the 6 million be for a fierce blessing for the world through our actions.

 

Jan 25, 2021

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” - George Orwell

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” 
- George Orwell
 
We are not ignorant enough to believe that Amalek has ceased to exist. But it is our deepest prayer that as long as we remember, as long as we continue to call out the events of this dark day for what they are, then the bigotry of Amalek will return to the sewers of society, where it belongs. #RememberAndDoNotForget

Even miraculous moments require a combination of waiting and not-waiting, of acting while remembering to breathe. So, dear friends, breathe. Miracles are happening all around. Slowly. So, breathe. ❤️

 

Jan 20, 2021

Upon the Inauguration of President Joseph Biden

We Americans must decide today that ‘the political divide’ is simply a catchphrase and a distraction. The real issue is seeing people with whom we disagree as people. We must acknowledge where we all, as a shared society, are broken, if we are to truly engage in the work of healing. And we are deeply, deeply broken. All Americans, Jews included, are responsible for the reestablishment of truth and trust in our communities. As the ancient sage Rabbi Joshua ben Perachiah once said, “find for yourself a teacher, make a friend, and give all people the benefit of the doubt.” Jewish tradition would have us remember that ideas like unity and faith are shallow promises unless our communal decisions reflect the very real belief in a common good and the commitment to actions that affirm universal human dignity. The sorrow that unites us in the face of 400,000 American lives lost to COVID must translate into a culture of healing and of kindness, grace, and respect. There will be no real peace if there is not enacted justice. As Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel taught, “on three things does the world depend: on justice, on truth, and on peace.” Let there be hope. Let the great work begin today. Let it begin with me. May God bless the United States of America. 


Inauguration Day: Kindness, grace, and respect. Good morning. Today, I wept through Maya Angelou's "On the Pulse of Morning."

 

בָּרוּךְ ...הַנּוֹתֵן לַיָּעֵף כֹּֽחַ Blessed is the One who gives strength to the weary.

 


Jan 18, 2021

#RecitingTheLetterFromBirmingham

#RecitingTheLetterFromBirmingham

#RecitingTheLetterFromBirmingham

I just recited the letter and am in tears from the profundity of Dr. King's prophetic expression, the depths to which humanity was and remains willing to fall, and the sense that God's Hopes are alive in this text. I'm so overwhelmed. And so grateful. And I feel even more ready than I was before to pursue justice with everything I've got.

Jan 16, 2021

A comment on language,

A comment on language, something explored in the rapid-response rabbinic collection to January 6, "Remember and Do Not Forget" - using the use of the word "storming" to describe what happened romanticizes the coup attempt in the eyes of the domestic terrorists. 

I ask us consider using other words, like "attack" or "assault." Storming the Bastille was an act of liberation and led to a holiday. Storming the beaches of Normandy helped turn the tide in WWII for the allies. The assault on Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 was not noble. It was sedition. It was terrorism. It was hate incarnate.

Jan 13, 2021

Israeli Singer Ninet Tayeb performs "I have no other country", by Ehud Manor, at Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.

Israeli Singer Ninet Tayeb performs "I have no other country", by Ehud Manor, at Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.

Translation: 

"I have no other country 
even if my land is burning. 
Just a word in Hebrew 
pierces my veins, my soul, 
in a weak body, in a broken heart. 
This is my home.

I will not stay silent 
because my country changed her face

I will not give up reminding her 
And sing in her ears 
she will open her eyes."

Remember and Do Not Forget: Rabbinic Testimonies of January 6, 2021: A Horrific Day in American History

I wish there had been no need for this rapid-response book, testimony from 46 American Rabbis from diverse movements, locations, and political opinions, about the horrors of January 6, 2021. The voices are powerful, the messages they send their communities were honest and searing, comforting and strong. I'm especially grateful to my friend and colleague, Rabbi Jesse Olitzky, who shared in the editing of this project, and to my mentor, Ruth Messinger, for offering a prophetic foreword to the book.

To the contributors, may your words reach every corner of Heaven and Earth. May our fragile nation do better.

May God bless the United States with justice, and with peace.

Book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08STPFM83
Table of Contents: https://tinyurl.com/Jan6bookTOC
Contributor bios: https://tinyurl.com/Jan6bookAuthors
_________________

From the introduction:

"We will forever remember the events of January 6, 2021. We also understand that, just like Torah, there is power in collective memory. This is especially true considering that we may remember the events of this day differently, each of us reflecting on it using our own eyes, hearts – and our unique choices of words.

Was the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 a riot? A coup? Insurrection? Domestic terrorism? A protest? Words matter, and how we remember is shaped by the words we use. As the great essayist and thinker George Orwell once observed: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” We have done our best to collect diverse rabbinic testimonies from an indescribable moment of American history with a commitment to remember and a promise to not forget. We will not be defined by the threats of white supremacists and the acts of domestic terrorists. But they undoubtedly shape us and shape our view of the world.

We are not ignorant enough to think that bigotry did not exist before the Trump era nor would we be so foolish as to suggest that it will cease once that era is over. But we had thought that American society was in collective agreement that bigotry belonged in the sewers and gutters of society. But when the President amplified such bigotry in 240-characters at a time on his Twitter feed for four years straight, and worse yet, successfully used that bigotry to influence his supporters, he gave them permission to proudly and loudly -- and violently -- express such hateful bigotry for the world to see and incite violence. We are not ignorant enough to believe that Amalek has ceased to exist.

But it is our deepest prayer that as long as we remember, as long as we continue to call out the events of this dark day for what they are, then the bigotry of Amalek will return to the sewers of society, where it belongs."

Torah in the Morning!

 

Jan 5, 2021

Announcing: the second volume of my father's reflections: 'Praying for Our Country!'

 ***Special Announcement ***


Thrilled to announce the publication of the second volume of my father's reflections: 'Praying for Our Country!' These essays, selected from his teachings 1998-2014, touch on:

- The Supreme Court & Religious Neutrality
- Justice and Mercy: To Pardon or Not?
- The Unfinished Business of the Civil War
- Is the Flag Sacred?
- Jewish Reflections on Domestic Violence
- How to Understand the Evangelicals
- Levitical Reflections on the Health Care Bill
- Upon Hearing That Osama Bin Laden Was Dead

And a special feature of this volume is a foreword by his grandson, Moshe, who wrote:

"My Sabbah is the kind of religious leader whose belief is centered on making the world a better place for everyone. Perhaps this sentence from one of his pieces says it best: 'That is what God wants of us. To care and take care of each other. To take care of the world.' I’m grateful to have a Sabbah who puts humanity first. As his grandson, I am proud to carry on his vision of humane ideas and a healthy, unified America."


#NewBook #newbookalert #Author #america #faith #justice

On Finishing a Year of Torah

In the midst of these strange times, a growing community of friends have joined together every weekday morning at 9am on the UJA-Federation ...